With the boom in natural and DIY beauty – the global organic beauty market is forecast to exceed $15BN by 2020 – has also come a rise in mixing up your own formulas (avocado and olive oil hair mask! Coffee grounds and coconut oil body scrub!)

One element of these is often essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint and lemon. But, hold up. While they may smell like manna from heaven, certain jars of the super concentrated liquids have been said to cause irritation and redness; particularly on sensitive skin.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

So, essential oils on your face: yea or nay? It’s time to figure this one out.

What are essential oils?

Let’s start at the top. Essential oils can be extracted from the flowers, bark, stem, leaves, roots, and sometimes fruits of any plant. They are the volatile essences of plants that create unique, perumed fragrances.

Are essential oils bad for my skin?

These natural oils can be rich in antioxidants and contain antibacterial ingredients that protect against skin issues. However. “Most of the components in oils can significantly irritate and damage skin. Common examples include fragrant ingredients like limonene, citronellol, and eugenol, which are all present in fragrant plant oils. The positives just don’t outweigh the negatives,” says Paula Begoun, the founder of sensitive skincare specialists, Paula’s Choice.

Mixed race woman holding bottle of essential oil

Getty ImagesJGI/Jamie Grill

Natural doesn’t always = better, and while some oils may smell incredible, a heady fragrance can actually be a warning sign that your skin is not going to like them. Leading facialist Michaella Bolder told WH: “I have seen a huge rise in skin reactions from using oils blended with potent essential oils, which can result in very red, sore and unhappy complexions.”

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

It’s important to know which oils are good for the skin and the others that simply aren’t. Ksenia Selivanova and Claudia Felton, founders of Lion/ne skincare consultancy tell WH: “There are some oils that have been ‘proven’ to take down the inflammation and help blemish prone skin; a few of these are tea tree oil, rosemary oil, and lemongrass.”

“However, we would not recommend these essential oils as a ‘go-to’, due to their volatility and potential to cause more harm than good to the skin. If you do choose to use tea tree oil, make sure not to apply directly on an open wound or spot that has been picked!”

Are Essential Oils Bad For My Skin? - Women's Health UK 

Getty Imagesby ale_flamy

“If the barrier function of your skin is at all compromised, then fragrance and essential oils can add to irritation. This is why as a rule of thumb we try to recommend products that do not contain, or contain small amounts of essential oils. Admittedly, it is difficult to avoid essential oils. They are often used to make products smell appealing. Which is why if a product smells really really good, then that is a red flag.”

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Should I stop using essential oils on my face?

There’s a lot of research to show that if essential oils are diluted to safe levels, they have very little in the way of safety implications. Lisa Gilliam, an aromatherapist from organic skincare company Neal’s Yard says: “The general guideline in aromatherapy for the face is around a 1% dilution, but those who have sensitive skin may want to keep this blend for their body only and use gentler oils such as lavender and chamomile roman [on their face].”

Are Essential Oils Bad For My Skin? - Women's Health UK 

Getty Imagescristinairanzo

So as long as we use them in small quantities, essential oils are ok to use on our face? Well, no: no not all of them. “There are some essential oils that you may consider avoiding on your complexion, as they don’t contain specific skincare benefits, like pine or cinnamon. Ingredients like this are often used on the body to help with pains and to stimulate circulation but they’re not for the face.”

Begoun takes a more hardline approach. “Skin is very good at hiding when it’s being irritated. So, even if you don’t see a reaction straight away, the damage is still occurring beneath skin’s surface, cumulatively leading to problems you will see later on.”

“Irritation is pro-aging, the opposite of what most adults want from skincare. All of the citrus oils, including lemon, lime, tangerine, grapefruit, mandarin, and bergamot, are a big problem for all skin types. Also extremely problematic are mint oils such as peppermint, wintergreen, pennyroyal, and balm mint. In a similar vein, avoid camphor oil, which is a potent irritant.”

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Are Essential Oils Bad For My Skin? - Women's Health UK 

Getty Imagesmikroman6

Gilliam refutes this assertation. “Citrus essential oils are completely safe as long as they’re diluted”, she tells WH. “The only time you may have an issue is if the essential oil is oxidised or if you use a bergamot which contains bergaptene which can be phototoxic. Other essential oils such as neroli, patchouli and ylang-ylang are completely safe and beneficial to the skin on the face and body, as they help to soften dry skin and have a balancing effect – on both the skin, and on your emotions.”

She adds: “Plant chemistry components like limonene, citronellol, eugenol and linalool are all safe, and naturally occurring plant chemicals found in essential oils. There is much confusion around their safety, when they are isolated they may cause allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. For this reason, they are legally included on ingredient lists for products containing essential oils as potential allergens, even though as naturally occurring compounds within essential oils they don’t have the same allergenic activity.”

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

    So, where are we now?

    Just like your favourite perfume gives you a pep in your step, essential oils can improve your mood. They can help you to feel calm, give you energy, clarity and even aid sleep.

    But similar to the scents we spray on each day, the make up of the oils we use could actually be full of ingredients that aggravate our skin.

    So, if the thought of giving up your fragrant face oils feels you with fear, then try keeping them set aside for special occasions instead of every day. Reduce the dosage you use and always make sure you don’t apply anything over 1%.

    Try using oils that aren’t so fragrant like rose hip, coconut, almond, or argan, and instead infuse your room with an oil burner or candle, to emit the stronger smells that you’re missing.

    Pure Argan Oil for Hair, Skin & Face by Poppy Austin® – The Finest, 100% Purified Moroccan Argon Oil Treatment – Organic, Cold Pressed, Hand Made & Responsibly Sourced Argania Spinosa – HUGE 60ml

    La Tourangelle Almond Oil

    la tourangelle
    Amazon

    £6.99

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here